This report indicates that coronavirus disease 2019 cases among workers in 115 meat or poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states.
Persons in congregate work and residential locations are at increased risk for transmission and acquisition of respiratory infections.
In early April, the CDC was alerted to COVID-19 cases among workers in several meat and poultry processing facilities and responded to state and local authorities’ requests for on-site or remote technical assistance. Qualitative on-site and remote risk assessments were conducted. All states that had reported at least one case of COVID-19 in a meat or poultry processing facility were asked to provide aggregate data on the number of meat or poultry facilities affected, number of workers in affected facilities, number of workers with a COVID-19 diagnosis, and number of COVID-19-related deaths among workers.
By April 27, CDC had received aggregate data on COVID-19 cases from 19 of 23 states reporting at least one case related to this industry; there were 115 meat or poultry processing facilities with COVID-19 cases, including 4,913 workers with diagnosed COVID-19. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred. The percentage of workers with diagnosed COVID-19 ranged from 0.6% to 18.2%. Factors potentially affecting risk for infection include difficulties with workplace physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions.
The report suggests that improving physical distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and medical leave policies, and providing educational materials in languages spoken by workers might help reduce COVID-19 in these settings and help preserve the function of this critical infrastructure industry.